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Thread: How can i help her gain weight??

  1. #1
    KellyandBean
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    Default How can i help her gain weight??

    I really need the opinions/support of some fellow vegan parents. My daughter was born small at 6lbs and has never had fat rolls and has always been just a little thing never being more then 25% on the weight charts and usually below that. She was breastfed until she weaned herself at 19 months and is now only 22 pounds at 26 months old. She is barely if at all on the charts and her doctors are always getting at me. We even had her on soy baby formula from 20-24 months in which she gained 2 pounds which the doctors were pleased with but they decided we should go without the formula at her 2 year check up to see if she did ok. We went back for a weight check a few days ago and the scales say she hasn't gained anything (actually it said she weighted a pound less but they ignored that because it could just be clothes/shoes) and they want us to come back again in another 4 months for another weight check. Now i am terrified for this weight check because i know they will not be pleased if she doesn't gain much in the next 4 months. I doubt at 2.5 years old they will want her to restart the formula. They are going to try to get me to feed her cheese again and whole milk i just know it. The doctors annoy me because they can never seem to remember that we are vegan. The last time we were there they sent me home with a list of high fat foods (nearly all non-vegan) to feed to her and i didn't even bother reminding them this time that we are vegan because it is like talking to a wall. The doctors suck but they are right that she is way to skinny. I'm just not sure what to do about it. Well other then change doctors which is in the plans. Here are some of the higher fat foods i can get her to eat:

    nut butters (almond and PB) every day (PB&j junkie)
    earth balance smothered on all of her veggies (she doesn't like olive oil)
    we make cookies, muffins etc with coconut spread butter often
    she drinks the enriched silk soymilk
    she likes coconut & soy yogurts
    flax oil in her oatmeal every morning & often in her yogurt too
    She likes hummus

    My husband and i are both petite people too so i do often wonder if this is just the way she is and it maybe wouldn't matter if she ate dairy or not.

    Had anyone else been in a similar situation? Is is possible that she just doesn't do well on a vegan diet and i will have no choice but to feed her cheese and milk like they want? I desperately do not want to but i would if i had no other choice. If they ask us to feed her dairy again my next step is going to be at least to ask for a referral to a nutritionist so that i can feel like i got a second opinion on her.

    advice/support/thoughts?

    i'll leave you with some photos of my little cutie

    she was younger here (18 months?) with her potty on her head lol

    playing in the sand 26 months:


    Thanks in advance!!

  2. #2
    Muvesz's Avatar
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    Default Re: How can i help her gain weight??

    Oh she is so adorable!

    Does she seem healthy other than her weight? Does she have a lot of energy and is she generally happy?

    I am not very experienced with child health, as I have not had a kid, but I would think things like coconut oil and avocado would help.
    Maybe see if she has an allergy to something, also. I know gluten allergies can cause both hypo and hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism can result in the inability to gain weight.

    She doesn't look sickly to me, at all. My niece was always a very thin child, and now (at the age of nine) she is still thin, but has never had any health problems, and has always been very active.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    SleepingRose
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    Default Re: How can i help her gain weight??

    I agree with Muvesz. I would definitely have her checked for thyroid disease. My Mom and I have hypothyroid diease( well, my moms hyper now) and I know hyper can result in the inability to again weight. My mom can eat her heart out and not again a pound. If she does have a thyroid disease the fix it easy and she should again weight. About the dairy, if she does have a thyroid disease dairy can make it worse, so I would have her checked before you feed her dairy.

    I'm not a parent either but to me she looks like a healthy girl. She is thin but not sickly thin. What a cutie!

    Good luck. Let us know what happens!

  4. #4
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: How can i help her gain weight??

    Quote KellyandBean View Post
    They are going to try to get me to feed her cheese again and whole milk
    That's not surprising, if they keep forgetting that you are vegans.... But doctors say a lot of weird things. I had been traveling in Asia for a while, got some diarrhea and visited a random doctor when I came back, and when he heard that I didn't eat meat, he said that the reason for my problems was that I hadn't been eating meat when I travelled... (!).

    I have worked with children, and seen that some just are skinnier or more overweight already at a low age - even if they all were meat eaters. But of course there could be medical things you could check (thyroid disease has ben mentioned), and you could also check her B12/MMA levels - B12 is necessary for growth - or just give her some B12.


    My husband and i are both petite people too so i do often wonder if this is just the way she is and it maybe wouldn't matter if she ate dairy or not.
    Yes, that's likely, but I've also seen meat eating, non-petite parents who get skinny kids.

    Is is possible that she just doesn't do well on a vegan diet and i will have no choice but to feed her cheese and milk like they want?
    There's no such thing as "a vegan diet"... Kids need vitamins and minerals like we do, but it's more crucial for children to get what they need. The problem for meat eaters is that they seem to be deficient in more nutrients than vegans. Just adding some animal products doesn't make sense.


    If they ask us to feed her dairy again my next step is going to be at least to ask for a referral to a nutritionist so that i can feel like i got a second opinion on her.
    Well, there are isolated nutritionist out there who assume that humans as such need animal products - so the outcome of asking one random nutritionist would all depend on who you asked. A better idea, IMHO, is to check with the world's largest organization of dietitians - Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics - says about feeding kids on a vegan diet. Here are some links for you:

    http://www.eatright.org/Media/conten...ion+vegetarian
    http://www.eatright.org/Public/conte...58&terms=vegan
    http://www.eatright.org/kids/article...33&terms=vegan
    http://www.eatright.org/Public/conte...60&terms=vegan

    Here are some links from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine:
    Vegetarian Diets: Advantages for Children
    Vegetarian Diets Healthy Choice for Young People, Doctors Say
    Vegetarian Diets for Children: Right from the Start

    And here are a bunch of other links, from veganpeace.com:
    http://www.veganpeace.com/nutrient_i.../resources.htm


    If your doctors come up with the theory that your daughter needs animal products, I'd show them some of the links above (or similar stuff/literature) and have them come up with something which proves all these (ten thousands of) dietitians wrong. There are kids out there who have a normal weight while eating burgers, junk food, a lot of sweets/sugary stuff etc - not because they are healthy. Both overweight/underweight/'normal' weight could have several reasons. And there are also adults who are skinny even if they eat a lot - weight/skinny isn't only about what you eat - the essential part is that they get the nutrients they need. Meat eaters give their kids meat and other animal products (from animals raised on plants!). I think there's enough information out there to prove that our solution - to feed our kids with plants that haven't already been eaten once, by some animal - is at least as good for children. If they are happy, get enough sleep/are not stressed/get fresh air/sun/exercise and the nutrients they need from food (and supplements when needed, just like other kids), we have pretty much done what we can do.

    And btw, I'm sure you'll get more suggestions re. what to feed your cute daughter!
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  5. #5
    deniselynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: How can i help her gain weight??

    It irks me that some doctors try to get kids to fit higher on the curve. Some kids are just smaller or weigh less. That's why there IS that end of the curve. As long as she is healthy and growing, I would not worry too much.

  6. #6
    SleepingRose
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    Default Re: How can i help her gain weight??

    If you decide to take her to a nutritionist make sure it's one that knows about a vegan/vegetarian diet or else you'll get the "OMG, she doesn't eat meat? Feed it to her!". Just a suggestion.

  7. #7
    pat sommer's Avatar
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    Default Re: How can i help her gain weight??

    Been there!

    Also a 6lber. We did have a health issue in that there was surgery shortly after birth which meant health workers closely following her...
    As it was London, there was no issue with our vegan lifestyle. There is a greater range in what was deemed 'normal': Sinhalese tots weighing jot vrs Nigerians walking at 7Mo!

    No fun though when we had a health visitor who did pressure me to get my daughter up into the main curve. The doctors were fine with us at the 10%! She just never had any podge either. She stayed on the bottom end til Kindergarten when other kids started slowing down. Her growth has never had a spurt but just overtook many other playmates slow and steady. Tall and still slim now at 10.

    Toddlers burn so much energy, it can be a challenge for any parent to get good meals into them. So many moms I've seen have relied on cheap junk to make up the needed calories -how can that be better than a bit skinny?

    What worked for us (different for every family) was to cut out drinks besides water between meals (no hummingbird feeder) and to make the 4 meals lap time. She could pick from my plate too (new foods less scary on mama's plate!). This seemed to slow her down enough to get calories in. 2 snacks a day were light fruit or a bite of nuts.
    Still, she sat and socialized with the quick snack as I wanted to build a sense that we should stop and enjoy our food and share it.

    No problem now getting her to the table! We love food and eating. Me, perhaps more than is essential (think elastic waistbands).

    So, best of luck Kelly and Bean! You'll figure out what works for you and then deal with the next child-rearing issues...
    the only animal ingredient in my food is cat hair

  8. #8
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How can i help her gain weight??

    Yes, I agree with the others that she looks great from the pictures. Being small is not too much of a problem but I suppose not growing could be - however presumably children don't always gain weight steadily but in fits and starts?

    As a non-parent I don't know much about this but I have read that the high volume of fibre that's typical of an adult vegan diet can make it difficult for small children to get enough calories so I don't know if there's any milage in reducing that (e.g. substituting white bread for wholemeal/whatever, just for a while)?

    I'm sure you have already read all the advice that's online like http://www.vegansociety.com/lifestyl...-children.aspx If you decide you need a dietitian maybe someone like the Vegetarian Resource Group http://www.vrg.org/ could help you find a vegan-friendly one.

  9. #9
    JewelsStrilaiff
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    Default Re: How can i help her gain weight??

    Honestly, I think she looks just fine! I know lots of skinny kids that look like that!

    Don't worry about it. I know that a lot of rules and regulations and charting kids growth and stuff are in place because there are a few bad parents out there who intentionally and unintentionally do not give enough nutrition to their children and there are serious problems out there.

    My only thought... lots of potato's! Pasta! Hearty sauces! Lasagne! Even if you make cookies and add in there some extra things like hemp hearts or something. Anything to add those extra calories.

    Have you ever tried to make your own yogurt?? I have a friend who makes her own yogurt out of tofu somehow, her daughter was always in the 10th% so similar situation to you. She just got the fattiest options available and loaded it up!

    There are lots of ways to add calories to meals, if you're concerned....but honestly, don't over think it, try your best. You said your dh and you are small... she isn't starving... her metabolism is so high at this age... don't beat yourself up over it!

  10. #10

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    Default Re: How can i help her gain weight??

    Really she looks just fine. my daughter was of the charts from 3 month-1 and a half, then she hit the 3% for weight and 50% for height, and has pretty much always been there (now increasing a little). The doctors are now not too conserned as long as she is following the curve. When she was off the chart they were of course worried, she was in an orphanage at the time on a non vegan diet and only started to get back on the chart when she came to live with me full time, and thus on a vegan diet.
    Other people sometimes comment that she's so skinny and she should just eat some meat. However i know that she is healthy, she is way more active than most of her friends and she eats and eats, but doesn't really gain a lot of weight. When she was little i was just like you, but now i've execepted that she's just going to be tall and skinny. She's almost at 5% for weight now, but we don't worry. Her birth mother is small and asian, so i think it's just genetic really. Also please don't forget that most children these days are over weight, and people get use to it so always see skinnier kids as underweight when in fact they are normal!

    However, if your daughter is going down in the percentals maybe you can put her back on formula for a while, and boost her fat intact and lower her fiber intake.
    I would also get her checked out for other medical problems. Be assured that giving her meat and dairy isn't the answer, really it's rubbish that this will solve the problem. My sister kid is a meat eater and has always been at the 15%, the doctors were a little worried at the time, but he followed his curve and is now 12 and just fine. Tall and skinny but fine. so meat really isn't the answer.

  11. #11

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    Default Re: How can i help her gain weight??

    Hi Kelly. I just joined today so sorry my response is more than a year late!!
    Indeed your daughter looks adorable. I had a similar issue with the western doctors telling me my daughter was too skinny (she's 3 and 1/2 years now). My daughter has been vegan from birth. She was always breast-fed but after 8 months I wasn't producing that much breast milk. I was so happy when I could start feeding her mashed food because I did worry that she wasn't getting enough food because I had so little breast milk. But I gave her sunflower oil, chia seeds, chia seed oil, and mashed avocado. She certainly wasn't a chubby baby but at least she gained healthy fat. Also I was a very small baby and growing up I was always skinny and so was her father. If you haven't already, try taking your daughter to a naturopathic/holistic doctor. These doctors know what they are talking about. Also my daughter is very active and that contributes to her small frame - she has fast metabolism.
    Best of luck to you and I hope you kept your daughter on her vegan diet!

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